Accountability in pay-per-click is very important because the money that you’re spending only lasts for that moment in time. With a poorly configured account with poor targeting, incorrect ads, and a low-quality score, that money can vanish and you can get nothing for it. It’s very easy to have lots of fraud, waste, and abuse in pay-per-click and it’s often an area where I can find the most savings for my dealers the quickest. So, as always, let’s start by getting on the same page.
- What are your vendor goals for my pay-per-click? Are you currently trying to provide me with conversions? Leads? Are you optimizing for clicks? Are you optimizing for conversions? What is the focus of your pay-per-click?
- What, specifically, are you doing to cater my campaigns to automotive? Are you using auto intenders? Are you using an audience from my CRM? How are you ensuring we’re reaching my target audience?
- Does our ad timing match our goals? If we’re trying to get leads, does it make sense to be running leads at 2AM when our dealership’s closed, as opposed to 10AM when we can respond to them quickly? Make sure your ad timing mirrors your goals.
- In reporting, ask for your retargeting and your branded traffic to be separate. It’s very easy to have a great looking report, or a high CTR (click through rate), if you’re including traffic that’s retargeting or branding traffic. Look at conquest traffic separately, so you can measure its actual effectiveness.
Going back to something we’ve previously discussed:
- Have you connected Search Console and Google Analytics to the Google Ads account? Can I verify that both of those are connected?
- What are you using for conversions? A lot of automotive providers currently are optimizing for conversions and then marking things like a VDP view as a conversion. If you’re landing on a VDP page, and have a 1:1 click-to-conversion ratio, it’s very easy for Google to optimize for that but you’re only optimizing for VDP views. VDP views are a step along the way, but are not our end goal. Optimize for hard conversions. If your pay-per-click provider wants to track those, ask that they be marked as ‘secondary conversions’ and then Google will not use them to enhance its algorithm, to show your ads.
- How are you doing location targeting? While it’s easy to do a radius around my dealership, it prevents me from doing small town-level bid adjustments that may let me steal traffic from competitors that I can get at a town-level but can’t get a radius-level.
- Where is my traffic going? Is it just going to my homepage? If so, why am I paying money for that? Is there not a better, optimized page I can bring them to?
- What are you doing to prevent fraud? By some industry estimates, ad fraud results in nearly $80 billion in fraudulent spend a year. What is your provider doing to reduce your fraudulent spend? If you’re using a flat-fee provider, ask what percentage of spend their fee is. I understand the appeal of a flat-free provider, but I’ve seen flat-fees result in 100% of spend. Fees that would be unconscionable as a percentage.
Don’t be a set-it-and-forget-it client. Ask how often a human being goes into the ads account and reviews it. You can actually look in the back end and verify those log-ins yourself. The vendor did give you back-end access to the ads account, right? (Hint, hint).
By asking these basic questions to our pay-per-click providers, we can start to understand what they’re doing – and the ways that we can hold them accountable.